By Scoop Malinowski
Terence Crawford has to be the most underrated welterweight champion in history. He is 36-0 now with 27 KOs after annihilating Kell Brook last night in four rounds. But Crawford’s best results have been default wins. The man from Omaha, Nebraska has conquered Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman without needing to land a single punch.
Crawford is one of those rare, superhuman talents that comes along and for a variety of reasons slips through the cracks and does not get the accolades and recognition he deserves. “Sometimes the greatest talents are shrouded in obscurity” is the quotation that befits poor Bud who is simply too good for his own good.
Al Haymon controls most of the big names at 147 but has totally protected Spence, Garcia, Thurman from fighting Crawford because he knows he will lose. For optics, Haymon offered to match Shawn Porter vs Crawford but why should Crawford and his promoter Bob Arum do Haymon and Porter any favors by giving them a nice payday? No, Crawford wants Spence first, and has chased him for years, to no avail. Porter offers nothing but leftovers. Porter will get no favors until Spence mans up.
Crawford has dominated at 135, 140 and now he’s doing it again at 147. To my eyes, he’s better than Floyd Mayweather in every category. He moves better, hits harder, has more combinations and variety of punches, and he uses both the righty and lefty stances effectively. Whatever version you say was Mayweahther at his best, I say Crawford picks him apart and beats him up.
Well, the truth of the matter is prime or peak Mayweather would never get in a ring with a formidable force like Crawford. Floyd would duck Crawford just like he ducked Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto in 2008, and Paul Williams, using such absurd excuses as PPV numbers and “I won’t do business with Bob Arum because he’s a grumpy old man.” Or Floyd would falsely accuse Bud of using PEDs.
It’s a cruel irony that Terence Crawford, now 33 years old, is the pound for pound best fighter in the world today but he can’t secure a high profile mega superfight. Some fighters are so intimidating that they paralyze their division’s best contenders with fear and absolute unyielding reluctance. Gennady Golovkin did it in the middleweight division. I have read reports that Charley Burley and Harry Wills also could not get any big fights because no marquee names wanted to take the risk.
Crawford told me the most painful moment of his career is the sad reality that he is not where he thinks he should be, in terms of fame, popularity, purse figures and world renown. But he feels what he has accomplished so far is worthy of an International Hall of Fame induction.
All Crawford can do is keep fighting and keep winning. If Errol Spence continues to avoid him (he will) than Spence is sadly shaming his own reputation for cheating himself, the sport and Crawford by failing to dare to be great.
We may never know how great Crawford really is because the only way to really push a great fighter to show his optimum level is to be threatened by the best opposition. Like Leonard showed his magical best vs Duran and Hearns and Hagler. Pacquiao exhibited his finest fistic prowess against Cotto, Hatton, Margarito and Oscar. Ali performed his ultimate ring mastery against Frazier, Liston and Foreman.
Crawford, to my senses, is better than Floyd, Oscar, Forrest, Curry, Breland…and it’s very possible he could be as good as or maybe even a smidge better than Leonard, Duran and Hearns.
We will never know for sure.